A Welsh Liberal Democrat Senedd candidate has expressed huge disappointment at the announcement by Wales’ First Minister that plans for a new law which could improve bus service provision in Wales won’t now go ahead during the current Senedd term.
Plans for the new law have been shelved as the Welsh Government has reassessed its legislative programme for the remainder of the current Senedd term in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Councillor Rodney Berman, lead Welsh Liberal Democrat candidate for South Wales Central for the 2021 Senedd elections, said: “It’s hugely disappointing that these plans can’t go ahead at the present time. Many communities across Wales have been badly hit in recent years by the loss of local bus services, and the proposals for a new law which could allow local councils to determine where bus services need to run by franchising routes could make a huge difference.
“The new law could also help by allowing Welsh councils to directly run bus services and give them the ability to set up and operate new bus companies. It could also create new joint transport authorities which would enable better regional planning of bus service across different local authority areas.
“I fully understand that Covid-19 has impacted on the Senedd’s ability to take new laws forward at the present time, but these plans are desperately needed given the way bus services have been lost from so many Welsh communities in recent years. I therefore hope that this legislation can be made a priority in the next Senedd term. If I’m successful in securing election next year, it’s certainly something that I will be pressing for.
“We need to improve public transport for so many reasons, including to help people switch to more sustainable forms of transport that can help us to cut carbon emissions and tackle climate change. Buses are also often a lifeline to many elderly residents who may not have access to other forms of transport.”
Rodney Berman is currently a Welsh Liberal Democrat councillor for Cardiff’s Penylan ward. He is standing as the lead Welsh Liberal Democrat candidate for South Wales Central in the 2021 Senedd elections.